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Accidental Presidents

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Eight times in American history vice-presidents have ascended to the presidency, a result of the death in office of the president, four times by assassination. The job of vice president tended to be one of irrelevancy, and those selected to run on the ticket were back-room accommodations to resolve party factions or an attempt to win a particular state. While Teddy Roosevelt, Harry Truman, and Lyndon Johnson are quite familiar to us, much of the book’s interest lies in the lesser known “accidents”: Tyler, Fillmore, A. Johnson, Arthur, and Coolidge. The first book we will be reading is Accidental Presidents by Jared Cohen (Simon & Schuster, 2019 hardcover). As a bonus we will read about Gerald R. Ford, who became president when Richard Nixon resigned in 1974. The book is Gerald R. Ford by Douglas Brinkley (Presidential series, Times Books, Henry Holt & Company, 2007 hardcover). These “accidental” presidents are all part of the history of presidential succession; the question is whether they were better or worse than our “non-accidental,” duly elected presidents.

Class Details

13 Sessions
Weekly - Thu

Wieboldt Hall

MultipleInstructor :
1.Barry Kaplan2.Richard Dubberke3.Danolda Brennan 



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Schedule Information

Skip dates: (No class on 11/25/2021)

Date(s) Class Days Times Location Instructor(s)
9/9/2021 - 12/9/2021 Weekly - Thu 9:45 AM - 11:45 AM Chicago, Wieboldt Hall  Map Danolda Brennan  ; Richard Dubberke  ; Barry Kaplan 
/*NOV 14 2020*/